So its now a crime to leave a child unattended for 30 minutes. It seems that is the case now that some police authority has cautioned a women for leaving her children alone for 30 minutes whilst she popped to the local shops.
I don’t know how or by whom the woman was “shopped” to the police, there is probably more in the story that hasn’t been published about this aspect yet. As to whether it makes a difference to the issue, probably not.
I can see why she was cautioned. It’s because the police found a nice simple way to up their figures closer to whatever target they have for cautions. This being easy to enforce because all they had to say to the woman was “do you want a caution or a criminal record when you go up before a magistrate”. Naturally she will think that the caution is not a criminal record and is not recorded anywhere and doesn’t affect her job. Unfortunately this is not the case. A caution is still something that appears on your record and can affect your CRB results. Normally it shouldn’t stop you getting a job because an employer will be able to see the caution, ask the employee about it, and understand the situation. However we are still in the clutch of a statist government where ordinary people are scared to do anything because they have had responsibility taken away from them and so they daren’t use any initiative or common sense and take the word of the CRB as gospel.
The other reason why she was cautioned, or rather persuaded to sign a caution, is because the police didn’t actually want to go before a magistrate as their case would get thrown out of court and they would become a laughing stock. Opps, they’ve still become a laughing stock. They may get away with it sometimes, but to avoid becoming a laughing stock they have to get away with it every time and the public does contain the odd person who when they realise they’ve been hoodwinked makes a fuss. Better to do a proper job and show that you can be trusted than to make an arse of yourself by cheating.
The reason why the magistrate would have thrown the case out? There is no legal minimum age at which you can leave your child alone, though you can be charged it was shown that the manner in which they were left alone was likely to cause unncessary suffering. Guidance is given by many busy body organisations who think they know better than the parent. Though the NSPCC unusually actually has reasonable advice and says that it’s up to the parent to decide. Though when its been put through the MSM mill it comes out as “But children’s charity, the NSPCC, advises that children under 13 should not be left at home alone for long periods and children under 16 should not be put in charge of younger children.”
Should the police have even talked to the woman and given her advice? Because, you know, the house could have burnt down and we would all be talking about the cruelty of the woman leaving her children to die in a fire. No, not even then. We aren’t in a Minority Report state yet. We can’t predict the future and we shouldn’t even try to because that just leads to the state where we bubble wrap ourselves because there could be an accident around the corner.
And this bubble wrapping which is a direct consequence of the legislation in the UK is the cause of the problem as child development specialist and author of Toxic Childhood Sue Palmer says
“Children are becoming less competent because they are being treated like carefully protected pets.
“Unless you let them take on chores and take responsibility for their own behaviour and learn to deal with real time, space and people, you won’t be able to leave them in charge of another child.”
But she also says such state interference, including the recent threat of more criminal record checks for people working with children, means people are ceasing to use common sense and losing their own ability to judge other human beings.
“We are almost legislating ourselves into a world built on accountability procedures and bureaucracy and statistics, and that’s a very unpleasant world.”
And this is, she says, fast making the UK a laughing stock among its European neighbours, where a 14-year-old in charge of a three-year-old is considered normal behaviour.
So do the children have the responsibility to look after themselves when left alone? I don’t know. But their mother knows and it seems that she thought that her children were responsible enough to be left alone. When you look at the various ages at which the state has already decided that children have responsibility you realise that its made a pigs ear of it and you can see why the state shouldn’t been given any responsibility.
10 yr olds can handle a gun.
10 yr olds can be charged with a crime.
12 yr olds have to look after disabled parents.
12 yr olds can have babies.
14 yr olds are allowed to baby sit.
16 yr olds are allowed to have sex.
17 yr olds can drive.
18 yr olds can vote.
21 yr olds are given the key to adult hood, but by then they are probably a bit confused.
Not many in the MSM are saying – don’t be stupid, look at the child and decide accordingly. All of them are saying “ooh, the government hasn’t told us what to do, we should clamour and pull at mummy’s skirt to be told what age is appropriate because we can’t work it out for ourselves”, whilst the libertarian blogosphere where is on the right track. Even the left are a bit perplexed by the situation. Well that is the only conclusion as I’ve haven’t spotted anyone saying that the police did the right thing and the left leaning blogs are a bit quiet on this subject, but I’m happy to be corrected if anyone knows better.
In the long run, more parents will err on the side of caution and not leave their kids alone at all. The end result, more kids with behavioural problems as they haven’t been allowed to cut lose and gain their own identity. It’s all part of the nannying culture. The state nannies the public, NGOs and quangos nanny the public, the council nannies the public, and the parent nannies the kids. Well would you want to be left out?
If parent’s aren’t sure about what age they can legal leave their kids alone then they do need telling. And that advice is (in a nice short, easily understood way) “You can leave your child alone, at any age at which you yourself are comfortable with doing so – based on the child’s age, common sense, responsibility, experience, and the situation”.